Message from the Dean

The St. Kate's - St. Thomas School of Social Work has played a significant role in shaping the social work practice community in our region over the past 40+ years. With the introduction of our DSW, we are now shaping educators throughout the country.

So, why have we introduced a new kind of DSW? 

We feel the need is great. We began developing this program in response to inquiries from our graduates and others in the social work field who are interested in pursuing a doctorate and careers in higher education. The expansion of bachelor’s and master’s programs in social work nationally has created a strong demand for faculty who hold doctorates. This is the nation’s first online program specifically designed for those with a master of social work degree who are either currently teaching at the bachelor’s or master’s level - or plan to do so - and who are seeking a doctorate in order to further develop the skills needed to excel as teachers and advance in their university careers.

The nation’s doctoral programs are not graduating enough individuals to replace retiring faculty or to staff the expansion of social work programs nationwide. In addition, most universities have moved beyond the requirement of the MSW as the terminal degree for most tenure-track positions. To help fill this gap, our doctoral program focuses on teaching, scholarship, service and leadership, rather than a traditional focus on research or advanced clinical practice. Strong practitioners, adjunct faculty and clinical faculty need teaching skills, writing and publication skills, full understanding and integration of the roles of the professoriate, and credentials to confidently teach and lead in university settings. We prepare graduates for leadership and scholarly roles in social work education who will become the stewards of our discipline.

I look forward to working with you as you explore our Doctorate in Social Work program!

Barbara W. Shank, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor, School of Social Work
CSWE Board Chair, 2013-2016; 2016-2019